The national and the local: Conflicting requirements in the assessment of learners’
performance. Keynote presentation at the Technology Education Research Conference
(TERC2014), Sydney, Australia. Nov 2014, Professor Richard Kimbell, Goldsmiths University
“The formal assessment of performance in schools is typically undertaken by recognized authorities in assessment. In the UK this is sometimes private Awarding Organisations like
AQA or Cambridge Assessment (eg for GCSE and A level qualifications) and sometimes it isGovernment bodies like the Standards and Testing Agency (eg for National Curriculum Assessments). In either event the priorities informing these assessments will be national.The tests must be deliverable and manageable nationally and the data must produce an articulated and reliable national standard. But the vast majority of assessments in schools are done by teachers, and they typically have other, more local, classroom concerns. Of course they are interested in how they measure up nationally, but they principally want to know how they can help their individual students to improve their performance. What might they do differently in their own classroom to enhance their learners’ performance? The assessment of performance is one of those fields where technical national requirements (for reliability and standards) meet local cultural practices (of pedagogy and individuality).And the meeting is frequently uncomfortable and unsatisfactory. In this paper I will outline an approach to assessment that reconciles local cultural practices with national requirements.” –Professor Richard Kimbell Goldsmiths,University of London.
The approach Kimbell focuses on in this paper is Adaptive Comparative Judgement which provides a much more reliable means of assessing performance, allowing for holistic judgement and sorting networks than conventional marking.“Do not underestimate the significance of this. If this democratised model of construct assessment were to be adopted nationally and internationally, it would dramatically empower classroom teachers – enabling them to develop and share their constructs of quality in learners’ work. And at the same time it would equally dramatically improve the reliability of national assessments.”